Final Thoughts on Undergrad

Regrettably it’s been almost a year since I’ve updated my blog. So much has changed since my last entry! I’ve since graduated from Lyme Academy and am now working on my terminal degree (MFA) from the University of Connecticut. I have much to share in the coming weeks but I wanted to focus this post on some of my explorations from the past year. Warning! These thoughts are developing and reflect a journey in my studio practice that is okay with unanswered questions. My practice feels like it’s continually falling apart and reconfiguring, researching and writing is a big part of that process. If anyone is reading this I hope it inspires you to write about your interests in a way that seems authentic to you.

Time Hotel (navigating digital illustration?)

When I last wrote to you I was working primarily in virtual reality (VR) on a project called Time Hotel. I laid out a few parameters before I embarked on my digital journey; I would create 12 VR spaces, the spaces would include data from a previous project (Time Cards), and the spaces would be composed of objects which were familiar to me.

The project started to take a life on it’s own and the VR spaced developed into fantasy (and more specifically science-fiction) environments. I ran into some roadblocks as I only have a topical understanding of gaming software (Unity, etc.), that being said, it is an exciting time when artists without a deep understanding of coding can create immersive digital experiences!

A New Direction

Now as a graduate student I’ve taken a break from my virtual studio and have primarily focused on printed media (printmaking) and creating physical installations. I may re-address some of my interests in VR soon but I’d like to spend more time focusing on the message of my work rather than a specific medium. Since VR is slightly inaccessible for group critiques, I’d rather focus on creating work that can be viewed by a group simultaneously.

My work has been focused on data; collecting it, reconfiguring it, obscuring it. Lately I’ve been thinking about misinformation (spam, malicious emails, forgeries, etc.) and capturing it in printed media. Authenticity and mediation is a word that has come up a lot during critiques. I’ll include some studio pictures from my most recent critique (two days ago). The work references blue (as a symbol for blue light?) and various screens (fabric and paper sheets) where messages can be hidden behind or where light can shine through. Here’s the gist of it:

  • The hand and the screen

  • Grids as the most familair form of mediation (digital content delivery systems)

  • Situations that change group dynamics

  • Data as media

  • What (or who) is behind the curtain?

Installation Shot 01.jpg
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Installation Shot 05.jpg
Installation Shot 03.jpg
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Installation Shot 09.jpg

I’ll be writing much more frequently from here on out. What are your thoughts on the work?


Paul Michael